Background of RICO
Roodepoort Inner City Outreach was started at the beginning of 2010. Both Willie and Henriette felt that God was calling them to work in South Africa. A door opened in the Roodepoort area, and we started to rent an office in the CBD.
The first couple of months were dedicated to prayer walking and seeking the Lord’s face to what He wants us to do in the area. During that time we saw many ‘mushroom’ crèches in and around the CBD area. We also learned that many of them were untrained, and would like to know more about ECD.
At the same time we also got in contact with a lady who has been praying for Roodepoort for many years, who is also an ECD teacher!! When we started with the trainings, we only had 4 students and Betsie as our lecturer.
Since then the ECD training grew tremendously. Currently we are training 120 ladies a year. We have already trained approximately 800 ladies, with another 300 on the waiting list.From then on we have expanded to the other areas of the ministry. Reading training, Sewing skills and the street ministry.
Background on Willie and Henriette Vermaak
Willie comes from a corporate background as an industrial engineer in the mining industry. He started his career in Iscor Mining (1995 – 1999), and then moved to Anglo American Technical Division in Johannesburg town (2000 – 2005). During this time, the plight of the vulnerable, destitute and God-less came strongly to his attention in many ways on various occasions. Consequently, after long times of prayer and seeking advice, he resigned as engineer, and joined a community outreach project at NG Kloofendal church, Roodepoort. He worked at the church for one year – and in addition to being involved in the community outreach project in Princess informal settlement, also fulfilled the role as administrative manager for the church. During his year working at the church, he met Henriette, who then returned from twelve years of missionary work in Asia, and temporarily worked in the church office.
In March 2007 they both went to ProChristo Global Missions, Kabwe, Zambia. Willie stayed on at the base in the Administration and Finance department for another two years. Henriette joined the missionary fraternity as a student at the University of the Free State. She completed her studies in Zoology, but immediately afterwards started training as a full time worker at South African Action for World Evangelisation (SAAWE) and went into full time work in Central and Western Asia. After twelve years, she returned home after her visa application for staying on finally rejected. She started temporary work at her sending church at the time, NG Kloofendal, Roodepoort. Like Willie, she worked at the base, involved in member care of the missionaries in the field, training, hospitality and other administration tasks on the base.
In 2010 they returned to South Africa and started the work in Roodepoort.